IDES glitch leaving unemployed without answers


CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — We’ve talked about unemployment problems during the pandemic. Now, people without jobs are facing a new issue, which they’re being told is a glitch.

Thousands of people are continuing to call the Illinois Department of Employment Security, hoping for a different result. Tira Clement has been on that merry-go-round since she was laid off in early May. Within days, she applied for unemployment but was rejected. She then applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), but was told to try for regular unemployment instead.

“I kept trying to call in, kept trying to call in, it was always busy; and then the system would just hang up on you, so you could never actually speak to someone regarding the problem,” she explained. Finally, she heard back.

“I get a call on a Saturday morning, from someone and they said that yes, I was eligible for PUA, they didn’t know why the system was doing this. They said that it was a glitch and that they had to put a ticket in with their supervisor,” she explained. She was told that, in about a week, she should be able to apply. But instead, nearly two weeks later, she’s still couldn’t get anywhere.

“We’re calling ourselves the PUA Illinois glitchers. There’s a whole group of us who are in this situation.” Clement says she’ll likely be brought back to work in the fall, but she’s afraid of what will happen in the meantime. “Savings is running out, and I need someone from IDES to look at what’s going on with me and tell me what I’m supposed to be doing. I have no idea, and no one to talk to.”

Clement tried to call unemployment again this morning at 8:30 a.m. She was told she would have a 25-minute wait, but she still hasn’t heard back.

We reached out to IDES. They continue to urge people to use their callback method. They also say that callback times have been delayed because of their high call volume. Their full response can be found below:

IDES is excited to introduce the new callback model, a feature launched today that will hold a claimant’s place in line to receive a call and alleviate the need for claimants to call multiple times to get through to a claims rep.  In addition to this new feature, the Department continues to work toward improvements that make the claims filing and processing experience quicker and more efficient for claimants.  As you are aware, IDES continues to receive an unprecedented number of calls each day.  This morning, there were nearly 2,000 callers in the queue in the first ten minutes of opening the phones.  Because of this heavy surge, there may have been a delay on the announced wait times early this morning.  We can assure those that may have experienced an issue with the announced wait time that they are in line and will receive a call.

Rebecca Cisco, Information Strategy Director + Public Information Officer

If you are in a similar situation, we want to hear from you. Please email us at

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